A/N: im So Sorry for the wait ive been doing a lot .. But! HELL YEAH i think this is the final chapter :') i worked all night to finish this! probably an epilogue where i finish that last part up; but i hope this ties up everything nicely! now i have to go back and leisurely edit/format the whooole thing
THANK YOU for sticking with this silly story for so long it means a lot! thanks again youre all great hope you liked it!
Drop a review for the finished product loves! Mwah mwah mwah hope you like this end
He'd called me into his office several days later. Friday, in fact, and I'd been skeptical about it to day the least. Though I was nervous I didn't refuse, not wanting to cause anything rough because- I was too tired for it. I had to face this and end it all, wrap this shit up, get rid of it toss it in the waste for ever and never look at it again. I was strong enough for this. I could do this.
So I met my father alone in his office, who looked tired and... I didn't feel bad that he'd lost sleep over it all. Of course I didn't. I was glad he felt guilty, that's the least he should have gotten from this whole ordeal. He sat there in his intimidating leather chair, suit seemingly cleanly but I could tell he had been out of it when he'd put it on because of obsolete details- the lapel was bent, top button undone... little things only I would be able to notice. Bags under his eyes... I was glad he at least looked regretful.
"I want to start with I'm sorry."
I didn't answer, just waited. Thankfully he took the cue, linking his fingers together and rubbing his thumbs over one another.
"I'm sorry for what I put you through. It wasn't right of me, and I won't ask you to forgive me, but know that I'm sorry."
I couldn't make eye contact, I... was so relieved to hear his words, this was the most times he'd apologized in his entire life, but I still felt grossly anxious. This wasn't just about me, either.
"And I'm sorry for what I said to Emrys. That was uncalled for, and I truly am sorry to both of you; I shouldn't have put him through that, after everything. Assuming he told you." He was referring to the chaos of Merlin's father's death... the confusion, the blame, all that bullshit.
"Yeah, he told me," was my simple reply. That was all the satisfaction I would give him, still not looking him in the eye.
Uther took a breath, choosing his words carefully.
"To be clear with you, I've already made a formal apology to him in person."
No. No no that's not you can't-
"When? When did you talk to-"
"Earlier today. I didn't ask you first because I wasn't sure you'd allow me to see him again, but it was important for me to apologize in person. I'm sorry for that as well."
I calmed down a bit, sitting back down in the chair I didn't know I had readied myself to jump up from. My legs were stiff, braced to move, and I relaxed back down again now though still uneasy. He was right, though, I would have refused to let Uther see Merlin if he'd asked. He didn't deserve to. I'm glad he apologized, though, despite being upset about going behind my back.
It hit me right then, that he was actually, honestly apologizing to me for everything. He meant what he was saying.
"But I hope you accept my apology for everything that's happened. That I wasn't there for you when I needed to be, all these years... you're a growing boy, I should have payed more...attention." he trailed off, and I was a little...shocked. I didn't... "I should have been there for you, Arthur, I'm sorry. And I'm sorry that when I was, I was uncaring, I-I was never there for you in the right way."
I bent my head. Bit my lip. Don't say that, don't act like you care. For the first time in a long time, I genuinely believed he did.
Maybe he did. Maybe this was a change for the better, maybe this was it.
There was a silence for a minute. Probably at least five, realistically; waiting for the other to possibly speak, baited breath as unstable emotion was heavy in the air.
"You two are... together now, right?"
"You and Emr- Merlin."
"That's... I'm glad for you two."
Another silence, though briefer than the last, and I swallowed thickly waiting for him to say something else. Something nice.
"I'm proud of you, Arthur."
We both smiled, but weren't looking at the other straight on... Thank god. I need this.
"Now, I'm not going to ask you to come back," he said softly. "I wouldn't ask that of you. I understand it wouldn't be right, or fair, to you."
Thank god. Thank god... I breathed a sigh, but wasn't sure if my father caught the sound. Thank fucking god.
"It's... you're living with Merlin, but you can't live off him- Arthur, I'm giving you access to certain accounts, you can manage your share of money how you like, and college... you can do what you want, I won't interfere. But know you're always welcome home. If you ever need a place to stay, or-"
"Thank you." So much. This means so much, you don't even understand...
I didn't answer directly, but looked up and made eye contact as a sign to continue. He called me his son. In an attempt at an affectionate manner, unlike usually when he wanted something.
"I won't come to your game tonight if you don't want me to. I promise."
I thought for a moment, weighing my first thought over feelings, and vice versa. This was a big deal. I had control over my own life for once, on where I could live... what to pay for, what college, whatever I... and this was the final game of our football tournament, the whole season had been leading up to this. And Uther was willing to give up seeing that moment for me.
This is a big deal.
"You can come if you'd like, I'm not stopping you," I answered after a short time. Inhaled sharply. "But... but I think I'd be more comfortable if you didn't." The second part came out in a rush, and now I couldn't take it back. But I didn't regret it.
Uther's expression suggested he'd been expecting such, disappointed, but not in me; in himself more like for causing such paths to lead to this. Despite this he smiled, doing his best to wipe away signs of his melancholy standpoint.
"Alright," he nodded. "Good luck tonight, Arthur."
"To Lance! Lance!"
A kick, the blur of a ball- only flitting thoughts shouted across the field to control the next line of moves. Hopefully to win. Because Merlin was in those stands, if I turned to the right I could probably point him out- and I really needed to win tonight. For him and for myself, I wanted to tie this shit up and get back to him. Kiss him on the field. Just thinking about it I was smiling wide, much to the confusion to the other team in white on the field with us, looking twice at the forward with the stupid looking grin on his face.
With that I couldn't help but looking up to where Merlin might be, only sparing a second to do so upon looking down to see that I had the ball between my feet. Merlin being here was some sweet mix of a motivation as well as a distraction, working against and with each other in some broken harmony- but I still managed to not trip over myself in getting it down the field.
He was there alright. With Morgana in the stands, while Gwen yelled to her brother as a cheerleader in a decent uniform. Which reminds me, Elyan-
Catching a glimpse of him in to my left, running up the field with me to tag off- I kicked the ball to him, through the legs of an opposing player players a nearly ran into him in the process. Managing to keep my eye on where the ball was hesding, I weaved through the other players to line myself up for a goal-
The last shot of the game as the timer ran out, the last goal of the game as I kicked it in past the goalie, the last play before the stands erupted into screams of victory and our team ran aimlessly with hands flung up in the air.
"We won! We won!"
"Arthur- Arthur! Arthur!"
"We did it!"
Disorienting cries from the players, yelling exclamations in light that we'd just won the entire tournament- the season was over, we did it. I pumped my fist in the air, running in a circle next to the goal line, ecstatic to the point the joy had blanked my mind. Gwaine was the first to reach me first, hitting my chest full speed and knocking me back but bit over- hugging me around the middle with a wail.
"Shit man, are you crying?!" I laughed, ruffling his unruly hair.
Then Lance from the side, wrapping his arms around the both of us- and Elyan jumped the now small group so we lurched to the side, into three other boys on the team who joined in. And Leon and Percival, shouting at the top of their lungs so they already sounded hoarse, laughing and cheering loudly to cover up the fact a good percentage of us were crying. Gwaine still hanging onto me in pathetic sobs, whimpering out "we won, we won..." that could barely be heard through the victory noise.
After a couple minutes of fierce hugging and yelled excitement, adrenaline still pumping through each of us from the game, the group of boys boxing me in started to clump so I could get free- and breathe, fuck- Gwaine finally let go, punching me in the arm with a sniff.
"I love you, man."
"I know, you little shit!" I sneered in good faith, pushing him lightly.
Three consecutive slaps to the back of my head, I wasn't sure from one or from different people, followed by Elyan clapping me hard on the shoulder. Leon and Lance hugged me at the same time, and Percival actually picked me up in his tight grip.
"Good job, Arthur!"
"Th-anks could you put me downIcan'tbreathe-"
And as soon as he did, a certain someone plowed into me so unexpectedly that I stumbled back a few steps before regaining my balance.
"M-" I started to grin, and was met by soft lips sealed roughly against mine while fingers gripped tight into my jersey.
I chuckled into his mouth, wrapping my arms around Merlin's waist to spin him around once and press harder into his lips, smiling as I did so. Hearing a shrill catcall or two, I flipped a finger without bothering to break the kiss- and was conscious by the movement of Merlin's hand away from my shirt that he'd probably done the same.
Finally we separated, unaware if it had been merely seconds to minutes to god knows how long we had been kissing in front of everyone- and he laughed brightly, pulling away enough so I could see his face properly. I smiled and bit my lip, nervous for no real reason as my heart was already laced with adrenaline, now beat even faster.
"Congratulations, prick." He leaned forward to peck me on the nose, dropping his hands to my forearms and smirking in such confidence he looked like he'd won the game himself. I laughed, dropping my head slightly with a thought to nuzzle his shoulder but-
"Hey hey hey don't hog the MVP to yourself!" Elyan teased, wrapping his arms around our necks in an uncomfortable hug. "You happy with your boyfriend, Merles?"
"Could've done better," was the snarky remark.
"Oh shut up-"
"I'm kidding you prat-" Merlin leaned forward again, but Elyan stuck a hand between us with no hesitation and no regret even if his palm might have been licked.
"Save it for later, lovebirds."
"Whatever-" I started to say, rolling my eyes and pushing Elyan away from us. But was somewhat confused as Merlin backed away as well, covering his mouth in an obvious attempt to hide a smile. "What is it-?"
And the team dumped the contents of the cooler over my head.
Or at least I assumed so, as a horrible ice chill ran down my spine as some liquid was fucking sloshed over my head, the force nearly causing me to trip- blinking as the drink ran down my hair into my eyes, a thick sticky feeling remaining even as it dripped off my jersey. Spluttering the fruity taste- yeah, it was definitely a sports drink that would be a pain to wash out- wiping my face with wet hands didn't do much of anything to help.
"Shit, FUCK oh my god that's fucking cold!"
My teammates as well as Merlin were laughing so hard they were doubled over, the two boys behind me having dropped the cooler to do so as well. I choked out a laugh, wringing out my shirt and groaning my distaste. Close to slipping on the wet grass, I was aware of the rest of the crowd cheering and starting to flood into the field, Gwen at the front and tackling her brother in a hug. Then she whipped around, planting one full on the mouth of an unsuspecting Lance- his expression was priceless.
Laughs, jostling as the crowd hit the team now about midway through the field- Morgana didn't dare touch me in my sticky drenched state, but cheered just as loud... Merlin was still laughing at me, arms around his own stomach as if it hurt from the force of how funny I apparently looked. He almost fell, Percy catching him, smiling just as wide and...
This is perfect, here, now.
Even cold and wet in the chilling weather, dark out except for the floodlights on the field, this was perfect. Happier than I'd felt in a long time, Merlin was here to share it with me, as well as everyone else I held close. Thinking deeply searching for some shred of doubt... no, it really actually couldn't get better than this.
I was, needless to say, slightly wrong in that assumption. I was under such an awe from winning and the screams of delight that we'd done so that I hadn't realized the victory "screams of delight" that would result of winning such game. Afterwards. At night. With Merlin.
As in, he was pining to get me back to his- our- flat after the victory celebration at the school, after all the speeches and awards, the post-party. We'd stayed for a time, and as people started to leave I excused myself to take a quick shower in the locker room bathrooms. The gatorade took longer than I wanted to get out of my hair, scrubbing myself over twice to get the sticky feeling off me completely. Dressing, cleaning up my space, stowing my ruined jersey in a plastic bag so it wouldn't contaminate the rest of my equipment and clothing.
Most of the team had still stuck around, in the mess hall with whatever was left of the prepared cake someone had made; the dessert had once had icing sweetly written "Congratulations Camelot Football Team!", plus a smiley face at the end and a drawing of a ball. We'd scarfed down most of the cake quickly, and now the scraps that remained were being savored a bit more than beforehand. I entered the mess hall with wet but clean hair to reunite with the people who had stayed late- god it was nearly eleven thirty now, and the game had ended at nine- to see the cake nearly gone. Merlin, Gwen, Lance and Gwaine were talking animatedly, Gwaine making gestures with his hands and laughing- the mood was still bright despite the hour, I guess.
But soon the energy of the after party died down, and nothing formal had been planned at anyone's house ahead of time, so people started to call it a night and leave. Going by groups or individually, it was only a matter of moments before Merlin saw the opportunity and dragged me away so no one would notice us leave within the bustle of students already heading out the door.
And the expectedly tense drive back to the flat, fumbling with keys to get in, but this time we were completely sober and minds set.
"Can I move in?"
"You're already moved in," we started a short conversation with easy words to compliment easygoing movements. He smiled, tossing the keys over to the desktop next to his computer.
"But... forever. My father's letting me, and... I can pay part the rent." Another kiss. "Merlin Emrys, would you do me the honor of letting me move in for good?" I played.
Yeah, no, it couldn't get better than this.
Clumsily slamming the door shut, chuckling at the action upon the possibility we could have woken people up- teasing each other until we reached the now familiar small bed, pecking affectionate kisses across each other's faces. Kicking off shoes and socks, shirts; still conversing loosely as we did so, exchanging a lewd comment or two as things started to heat up.
He held my face, hands warm to the touch and sighed contentedly into my mouth. Vibrations ran seamlessly from his lips to mine, a feeling of hot oneness overtaking the both of us; falling backwards onto the bed, I let him take the lead. More like he was going to take the lead this time and there wasn't much I could do about it, but... I'd like to think I let him. Smiling as he bit lightly against my collar, thankful now that I had taken the time to wash thoroughly to get the stickiness off me. Sighing as Merlin trailed his fingers across my stomach, reaching up both hands to take hold of is waist and pull him down for another kiss, deeper than the last.
"What reward do I get?"
"For what? Kissing well?"
I laughed, running a hand over the small of his exposed back.
"You know. Winning the game. For you, y'know, I did it for you."
"Of course you'd say that," he teased, ruffling my now pretty-much-dry hair out of place, blue eyes sparkling in the dim light.
"What makes you think... I'm giving you anything, anyways?" he shot, slow yet refreshingly gentle in palming me through boxers. Not a care in the world. As if he could kiss against my shoulder and move his hand like that forever, all night, if we wanted.
"Something special, maybe? Just for me?" I felt Merlin smirked against my skin at my words.
"Don't be greedy."
"I was thinking..." wrapping my arms loosely around his waist, I chewed my lip thoughtfully. "Maybe you could blow me again? You're seriously really good at it, like I still-"
"That was a one time thing."
"Fine." He smiled, pressing his lips above my navel. "You're lucky I love you."
"Y-yeah, I'm- oh. Yeah I'm luck-y you...love me..."